Besides the two-door coupé, the Cinquecento was also available as the Giardiniera Estate. It featured the standard engine mounted on its side, and a longer wheelbase (about 4") which allowed the designers to put in a larger rear seat. To top it off, a full-length fabric sunroof completed the picture, and made it easier to transport tall objects.
I personally love practical cars, and loved driving the new Fiat 500L (called the "Large" in Italy) during our Voyage through Italy. We've owned three minivans in our family and would love to see a new version of the Multipla brought to the U.S. in a family minivan configuration. Fiat did introduce a modern version of the Multipla from 1998 to 2010, but despite acclaim for it's bold design (I loved its amazing visibility due to huge windows) slack sales outside of Italy doomed the model.
It was great to see Fiat's return to the American market after 27 years... I owned a red Fiat 128 station wagon back in the Seventies during the oil embargo and odd-even gas rationing days. I got 30 miles to the gallon while most back then got about 6. I've test driven the modern Cinquecento and love it... although it small, even for our "we three" family. The advent of the Fiat 500L and 500X change all that. These are bigger, four door models with plenty of room for small families. Lucas loved having a raised rear "theater" seat in the "L" while we traveled through Italy... giving him much better views. We also liked having the glove box drink chiller--a very welcome thing in hot Italia.
All in all, the Fiat 500 was--and still is--one of the most important, practical designs for people movers on the planet. When you live in a country Italy with winding roads, limited parking spaces, narrow streets in most villages and the price of fuel always grabbing cash out of your wallet, the ubiquitous Cinquecento simply makes sense...
Bravo Fiat! Bravo Italia!
If you enjoyed this article, please SHARE it and LIKE it on your favorite social media site. And don't forget to tell your friends about our blog... Ciao!